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Molecular and cellular neurosciences [journal]
- The Onecut transcription factor HNF-6 contributes to proper reorganization of Purkinje cells during postnatal cerebellum development. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2013 May 10.
The Onecut (OC) family of transcription factors comprises three members in mammals, namely HNF-6 (or OC-1), OC-2 and OC-3. During embryonic development, these transcriptional activators control cell differentiation in pancreas, in liver and in the nervous system. Adult Hnf6 mutant mice exhibit locomotion defects characterized by hindlimb muscle weakness, abnormal gait and defective balance and coordination. Indeed, HNF-6 is required in spinal motor neurons for proper formation of the hindlimb neuromuscular junctions, which likely explain muscle weakness observed in corresponding mutant animals. The goal of the present study was to determine the cause of the balance and coordination defects in Hnf6 mutant mice. Coordination and balance deficits were quantified by rotarod and runway tests. Hnf6 mutant animals showed an increase in the fall frequency from the beam and were unable to stay on the rotarod even at low speed, indicating a severe balance and coordination deficit. To identify the origin of this abnormality, we assessed whether the development of the main CNS structure involved in the control of balance and coordination, namely the cerebellum, was affected by the absence of HNF-6. Firstly, we observed that Hnf6 was expressed transiently during the first week after birth in the Purkinje cells of wild type newborn mice. Secondly, we showed that, in Hnf6-/- mice, the organization of Purkinje cells became abnormal during a second phase of their development. Indeed, Purkinje cells were produced normally but part of them failed to reorganize as a regular continuous monolayer at the interface between the molecular and the granular layer of the cerebellum. Thus, the Onecut factor HNF-6 contributes to the reorganization of Purkinje cells during a late phase of cerebellar development.
- The Chemorepulsive Axon Guidance Protein Semaphorin 3A is a Constituent of Perineuronal Nets in the Adult Rodent Brain. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2013 May 8.
In the adult rodent brain, subsets of neurons are surrounded by densely organised extracellular matrix called perineuronal nets (PNNs). PNNs consist of hyaluronan, tenascin-R, chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs), and the link proteins Crtl1 and Bral1. PNNs restrict plasticity at the end of critical periods and can be visualised with Wisteria floribunda agglutinin (WFA). Using a number of antibodies raised against different regions of Semaphorin 3A (Sema3A) we demonstrate that this secreted chemorepulsive axon guidance protein is localised to WFA-positive PNNs around inhibitory interneurons in the cortex and several other PNN-bearing neurons throughout the brain and co-localises with aggrecan, versican, phosphacan and tenascin-R. Chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) was injected in the cortex to degrade glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) from the CSPGs, abolishing WFA staining of PNNs around the injection site. Sema3A-positive nets were no longer observed in the area devoid of WFA staining. In mice lacking the link protein Crtl1 in the CNS only vestigial PNNs are present, and in these mice there were no Sema3A-positive PNN structures. A biochemical analysis shows that Sema3A protein binds with high-affinity to CS-GAGs and aggrecan and versican extracted from PNNs in the adult rat brain, and a significant proportion of Sema3A is retrieved in brain extracts that are enriched in PNN-associated GAGs. The Sema3A receptor components PlexinA1 and A4 are selectively expressed by inhibitory interneurons in the cortex that are surrounded by Sema3A positive PNNs. We conclude that the chemorepulsive axon guidance molecule Sema3A is present in PNNs of the adult rodent brain, bound to the GAGs of the CSPGs. These observations suggest a novel concept namely that chemorepulsive axon guidance molecules like Sema3A may be important functional attributes of PNNs in the adult brain.
- Convergence of FPR-rs3-expressing neurons in the mouse accessory olfactory bulb. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2013 May 7.
In the mouse, most members of the FPR receptor family are expressed by vomeronasal sensory neurons. The neural circuitry corresponding to this class of chemical sensors is unknown. Taking advantage of the presence of FPR-rs3 on both vomeronasal dendrites and axonal fibers, we visualized the distribution of sensory cells expressing this member of the FPR family, and their corresponding axonal projections in the olfactory bulb. We found a rostrocaudal gradient of receptor choice frequency in the vomeronasal sensory neuroepithelium, and observed a convergence of FPR-rs3 axons into multiple, linked and deeply located glomeruli. These were homogenously innervated, and spatially restricted to the basal portion of the rostral accessory olfactory bulb. This organization, reminiscent of the one that characterizes axonal projections of V1R-expressing neurons, supports a role played by these receptors in the perception of semiochemicals.
- Differential role of Dok1 and Dok2 in TLR2-induced inflammatory signaling in glia. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2013 May 7.
Accumulating evidence continues to underpin the role of the innate immune system in pathologies associated with neuroinflammation. Innate immunity is regulated by pattern recognition receptors that detect pathogens, and in the case of Gram-positive bacteria, binding of bacterial lipopeptides to toll-like receptor (TLR)2 is emerging as an important mechanism controlling glial cell activation. In the present study, we employed the use of the synthetic bacterial lipoprotein and a selective TLR2 agonist, Pam3CSK4, to induce inflammatory signaling in microglia and astrocytes. The adaptor proteins, downstream of kinase (Dok)1 and Dok2, are known to have a role in negatively regulating the Ras-ERK signaling cascade, with downstream consequences on pro-inflammatory cytokine expression. Data presented herein demonstrate that TLR2 enhanced the tyrosine phosphorylation of Dok1 and Dok2 in astrocytes and microglia, and that knockdown of these adaptors using small interfering RNA robustly elevated TLR2-induced ERK activation. Importantly, TLR2-induced NF-κB activation, and IL-6 production was exacerbated in astrocytes transfected with Dok1 and Dok2 siRNA, indicating that both Dok proteins negatively regulate TLR2-induced inflammatory signaling in astrocytes. In contrast, Dok1 knockdown attenuated TLR2-induced NF-κB activation and IL-6 production in microglia, while Dok2 siRNA failed to affect TLR2-induced NF-κB activity and subsequent cytokine expression in this cell type. Overall, this indicates that Dok1 and Dok2 are novel adaptors for TLR2 in glial cells and importantly indicates that Dok1 and Dok2 differentially regulate TLR2-induced pro-inflammatory signaling in astrocytes and microglia.
- Neurotrophin and Wnt signaling cooperatively regulate dendritic spine formation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2013 Apr 30.
Dendritic spines are major sites of excitatory synaptic transmission and changes in their numbers and morphology have been associated with neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a secreted growth factor that influences hippocampal, striatal and neocortical pyramidal neuron dendritic spine density. However, the mechanisms by which BDNF regulates dendritic spines, and how BDNF interacts with other regulators of spines remain unclear. We propose that one mechanism by which BDNF promotes dendritic spine formation is through an interaction with Wnt signaling. Here, we show that Wnt signaling inhibition in cultured cortical neurons disrupts dendritic spine development, reduces dendritic arbor size and complexity, and blocks BDNF-induced dendritic spine formation and maturation. Additionally, we show that BDNF regulates expression of Wnt2, and that Wnt2 is sufficient to promote cortical dendrite growth and dendritic spine formation. Together, these data suggest that BDNF and Wnt signaling cooperatively regulate dendritic spine formation.
- Splicing therapy for neuromuscular disease. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2013 Apr 28.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) are two of the most common inherited neuromuscular diseases in humans. Both conditions are fatal and no clinically available treatments are able to significantly alter disease course in either case. However, by manipulation of pre-mRNA splicing using antisense oligonucleotides, defective transcripts from the DMD gene and from the SMN2 gene in SMA can be modified to once again produce protein and restore function. A large number of in vitro and in vivo studies have validated the applicability of this approach and an increasing number of preliminary clinical trials have either been completed or are under way. Several different oligonucleotide chemistries can be used for this purpose and various strategies are being developed to facilitate increased delivery efficiency and prolonged therapeutic effect. As these novel therapeutic compounds start to enter the clinical arena, attention must also be drawn to the question of how best to facilitate the clinical development of such personalised genetic therapies and how best to implement their provision.
- Predicting protein-protein interactions in the post synaptic density. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2013 Apr 28.
The post synaptic density (PSD) is a specialization of the cytoskeleton at the synaptic junction, composed of hundreds of different proteins. Characterizing the protein components of the PSD and their interactions can help elucidate the mechanism of long-term changes in synaptic plasticity, which underlie learning and memory. Unfortunately, our knowledge of the proteome and interactome of the PSD is still partial and noisy. In this study we describe a computational framework to improve the reconstruction of the PSD network. The approach is based on learning the characteristics of PSD protein interactions from a set of trusted interactions, expanding this set with data collected from large scale repositories, and then predicting novel interaction with proteins that are suspected to reside in the PSD. Using this method we obtained thirty predicted interactions, with more than half of which having supporting evidence in the literature. We discuss in details two of these new interactions, Lrrtm1 with PSD-95 and Src with Capg. The first may take part in a mechanism underlying glutamatergic dysfunction in schizophrenia. The second suggests an alternative mechanism to regulate dendritic spines maturation.
- The role of chromogranin B in an animal model of multiple sclerosis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2013 Apr 24.
Chromogranin B (CGB) is a high capacity, low affinity calcium binding protein in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) that binds to the inositol 1,4,5 trisphosphate receptor (InsP3R) and amplifies calcium release from ER stores. Recently, it was discovered that levels of CGB-derived peptides are decreased in the cerebrospinal fluid of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. One of the mechanisms by which neurodegeneration in MS is thought to occur is through increased levels of intra-axonal calcium. The combination of excess intracellular calcium and dysregulated levels of CGB in MS led us to hypothesize that CGB may be involved in MS pathophysiology. Here, we show in a mouse model of MS that CGB levels are elevated in neurons prior to onset of symptoms. Once symptoms develop, CGB protein levels increase with disease severity. Additionally, we show that elevated levels of CGB may have a role in the pathophysiology of MS and suggest that the initial elevation of CGB, prior to symptom onset, is due to inflammatory processes. Upon development of symptoms, CGB accumulation in neurons results from decreased ubiquitination and decreased secretion. Furthermore, we show that calpain activity is increased and levels of InsP3R are decreased. From these results, we suggest that the elevated levels of CGB and altered InsP3R levels may contribute to the axonal/neuronal damage and dysregulated calcium homeostasis observed in MS. Additionally, we propose that CGB can be a biomarker that predicts the onset and severity of disease in patients with MS.
- Neuronal myosin-X is upregulated after peripheral nerve injury and mediates laminin-induced growth of neurites. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2013 Apr 16.:96-101.
The successful outcome of peripheral neuronal regeneration is attributed both to the growth permissive milieu and the intrinsic ability of the neuron to initiate appropriate cellular responses such as changes in gene expression and cytoskeletal rearrangements. Even though numerous studies have shown the importance of interactions between the neuron and the extracellular matrix (ECM) in axonal outgrowth, the molecular mechanisms underlying the contact between ECM receptors and the cellular cytoskeleton remain largely unknown. Unconventional myosins constitute an important group of cytoskeletal-associated motor proteins. One member of this family is the recently described myosin-X. This protein interacts with several members of the axon growth-associated ECM receptor family of integrins and could therefore be important in neuronal outgrowth. In this study, using radioactive in situ hybridization, we found that expression of myosin-X mRNA is upregulated in adult rat sensory neurons and spinal motoneurons after peripheral nerve injury, but not after central injury. Thus, myosin-X was upregulated after injuries that can be followed by axonal regeneration. We also found that the protein is localized to neuronal growth cones and that silencing of myosin-X using RNA interference impairs the integrin-mediated growth of neurites on laminin, but has no effect on non-integrin mediated growth on N-cadherin.
- CLIPing the brain: Studies of protein-RNA interactions important for neurodegenerative disorders. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2013 Apr 10.
The fate of an mRNA is largely determined by its interactions with RNA binding proteins (RBPs). Post-transcriptional processing, RNA stability, localisation and translation are some of the events regulated by the plethora of RBPs present within cells. Mutations in various RBPs cause several diseases of the central nervous system, including frontotemporal lobar degeneration, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and fragile X syndrome. Here we review the studies that integrated UV-induced cross-linked immunoprecipitation (CLIP) with other genome-wide methods to comprehensively characterise the function of diverse RBPs in the brain. We discuss the technical challenges of these studies and review the strategies that can be used to reliably identify the RNAs bound and regulated by an RBP. We conclude by highlighting how CLIP and related techniques have been instrumental in addressing the role of RBPs in neurologic diseases. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: RNA and splicing regulation in neurodegeneration.